Just ahead of its cardboard launch, Magic: The Gathering Arena today debuts the new Jumpstart game type in digital form. Jumpstart's an interesting one, giving both players two curated 20-card packs each containing half a deck to smash together into one. Jumpstart has 46 different pack themes too (including angels, devils, dogs, dragons, cats, pirates, unicorns, dinosaurs, minotaurs, and minions), so you end up with something a bit weird but not wholly random. You have to pay for enter, but do get to keep the cards.
Jumpstart has 46 themes for packs, most of which have several variants so you won't always get the same cards from the same themed pack. In Arena, playing Jumpstart will offer you a choice of three for each half, so you can have a little influence over what you get. But broadly, you'll get two packs then bosh, there's your deck. It's somewhere between regular Constructed decks, booster drafts, and preconstructed decks? Fairly accessible, bit random, maybe interesting? For new players, hey, you have a new, functional, and vaguely themed deck ready to go. For veterans, hey, here's a deck you've never seen before, make it work.
You can see the tabletop Jumpstart pack listings over here - but do note Arena's Jumpstart has swapped a few cards. They do look like functional half-decks, with a spread of critters and spells across a mana curve and some consideration that you'll likely have a multicoloured deck. Jumpstart introduces 37 brand new cards too.
This is very tempting to me. I can't get back into buying Magic boosters and individual cards again (having once been the sort to get four Cursed Scrolls way back when), I just can't, but I do like the look of this format and it sounds less of an endless money sink.
Jumpstart comes to Arena as an event running from July 16th (that's today) until August 16th. It costs 2000 Gold (earned by playing) or 400 Gems (about $2.50) to get your deck, then you can play it as much as you want. If you want a new deck, pay to roll those dice again. You can scoop some cards for winning too.
See this blog post for more on Jumpstart.
Our Magic: The Gathering Arena review said this latest digital adaptation "builds on the lessons learned by the rest of its genre, and takes away a lot of the friction and fuss that I will (grudgingly) admit exist in its paper incarnation. If you enjoy the tabletop CCG then, mate, you need to play MtG: Arena."